As the planting time draws near there are many details and various tasks being taken care and it’s hard to keep track of what happened when and where. I’m doing my best to write these down (but I do forget a few things from time to time). Hopefully it’s worth sharing to give a sense of the activity, events, time and commitment it takes to put in this vineyard!
Alright – so we are predilling the holes. Now how will the operator know where to drill and what’s the fastest way to get it done? Well, some installation crews use forks. We tried that earlier and considered it, but it made a mess and we weren’t planning on having extra labor to have each one removed prior to drilling. We discussed pulling a line with markers, but that would require additional labor at the time of drilling. Justin suggested eye-balling and the Project Manager scratched that.
In the end we decided painting the spots would be the best way. We probably knew, in the beginning, this was the best option, but again 1,500 spots, that’s a lot to paint, so we had to run through a few other options to make sure there wasn’t an easier way. Nope. None. So we start marking each of the 1,500 spots.
So we agreed to the marking paint, but then came the next question of consistency? At first we were using a tape measure, but that was far too slow or I was far too impatient (I strive for efficiency – most days!). . Then we used a pvc pipe, measured out the distance of every 6′, marked the pipe and added an elbow to latch on to the stake. I still think there’s an easier way – but I suppose what we came up with worked. This will be an area that we hopefully improve upon in the next planting.
We started the spot spraying Sunday evening about the time Justin got the sprinklers working (noted in Knick Knack post). The kids and I worked our way from west to east across the south end of the field, until it was too dark. We got maybe 100 or so holes marked. That would get him started!
Then when we delivered the part to Seth, I realized he decided to work south to north, so we started marking the spots again all Wednesday morning and afternoon. Before we left Thursday morning we had about 3/4 of the field done – enough to allow some time back at the office – before Seth catches up to the marks.
Everyone got their shot at marking. Dean was all about it and quickly got the hang of it. The only problem is we’d set the stick down and when I went to go paint, he would already be moving the stick to the next area. Riley was pretty good at the painting…so we tag teamed it, she marked 1 spot, while I did 2 and it worked out pretty well. Tate was a bit of a perfectionist and had the have the elbow exactly up against the stake…until he got tired and then it didn’t matter :). Sweet moments for me to see each of their personalities play out in their work.
WATER & SOIL. It’s been on the To Do List for many months now to formulate the water & soils analysis…but in typical fashion…the Project Manager works better under pressure!!!
WATER: Survey Says…Water = Excellent. This can be a double edged knife. At times you would like certain elements to be high for nutrition sake, but of course you don’t want the bad stuff high. All in all we are very very happy with the water results. 300 ppm, calcium good, arsenic levels far below acceptable, no floride, just really good water. Saweet! Only one itty bitty problem…I didn’t get it tested for irrigation/vine results, only drinking water, so I need to have it tested again – ahh live and learn!
SOIL: I had dropped off samples many months ago, but didn’t follow up on the results. I figured since I was dropping the water off I may as well see if I can visit with the tech on the soils test at the same time. The soils component/science around the growing, watering, vines, wine, region intrigues me… and quite honestly it has quite a bit to do with many future decisions. So Thursday morning on my way back down the hill I dropped the water off for testing and visited with the soils tech. ****So glad I did. What I learned in the 30 minutes she spent with me is worth it’s weight in gold. It was one of those times when you look back and you’re glad you relied upon your instinct to spend a little extra time on something. Good news is soils are well suited for vines and pretty much mirror other vine growing regions in Arizona.
Giddy-up we’re on our way!